60-Day Clock is Ticking for UnumProvident Claimants to Submit Their ‘Request to Participate Forms’

Frank Darras, America's Leading Disability Insurance Lawyer Reminds Entitled Claimants That Time Is Running Out

January 24, 2005

Frank Darras, America's leading disability litigator reminds entitled policyholders denied since January 1, 2000 by Unum Life Insurance Co. of America (NYSE: UNM), Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., Unum National Insurance Co., and Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., that their 60-day clock is ticking.

Facing the reassessment process will take its toll on many of these disabled unless they dust off that old claim box of disappointment and ready themselves to begin proving their disability all over again. Just thinking about opening that stack of claim disappointment and starting over again will paralyze some and overwhelm others. Unfortunately time is not on their side as the Company has begun to send out notices to entitled claimants denied after January 1, 2000. This group of insureds has 60 days to return their formal request to participate, use the Internet address on their notice to register with their claim number or call in to Company at the number specified in their notice to be eligible for reassessment.

This 60-day time frame is short and cannot be missed!

Once these claimants return the reassessment participation form and the 60-day time limit is met, most will need help in preparing the medical, occupational and financial information that will later be due. Most will need encouragement and direction along with a healthy dose of emotional penicillin to stay on course. The pressure of meeting the second 180-day deadline, assembling exacting evidentiary information, dealing with the daily limitations of their disability, while trying to right their disabled lives, will be a very tall order.

The reassessment information forms include a detailed claimant's statement, an employer's statement showing work activity from the date the claim was closed through the present and may also require demonstrating a loss of functional duties and/or a loss of income.

Claimants will also be required to assemble their comprehensive medical information including all treatment, visits, prescription records and their restrictions and limitations that prevent them from returning to work.

In addition to the claimant, employer, medical and occupational statements required, these insureds must also provide all other income benefits that he/she has received or is currently receiving.

Claimants must also sign a conditional waiver and release giving up their right to any legal action against the Company if their original claim decision is favorably revised or changed.

For those claimants denied between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1999, unfortunately the Company WILL NOT BE SENDING OUT ANY NOTICE. Claimants in this group will have 180 days from the date their state signed the multi-state agreement to formally request to participate. Without any formal notice, the only way these disabled will learn of their chance to reclaim their lives is by news coverage, the Internet or word of mouth.

News media is encouraged to cover this very important story as time marches on and 215,000 disabled people will be affected. "These disabled deserve to know about this opportunity and with different time limits affecting the 1997-1999 denials and the 2000-2004 denials, we are doing everything we can to spread the reassessment word and the different timing requirements so those truly disabled are not left behind," says Darras.

With the largest disability practice in America we have been hearing claimants' questions and concerns and offer our help.

First, don't give up, you can do this and NOW is the time!

Second, if you were denied between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1999, you have 180 days from the date your state signed on to the multi-state agreement to make your formal request, so the Company will allow you to participate.

Third, if you were denied between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2004, you have 60 days from the date on your notice to have mailed in your " Request To Participate Form"; then 180 days to supply the medical, occupational, vocational and financial evidence supporting your disability.

Fourth, the reassessment will allow you to include your social security disability award whether you received it before or after your denial. As a result of the reassessment, the Company will generally give that decision significant weight.

Fifth, your treating doctor's opinion that you are disabled will now include both your subjective and your objective evidence of impairment.

Sixth, if you were disabled from more than one condition, UnumProvident will collectively evaluate all of your limitations including side-affects from your medications to determine impairment.

Seventh, if an independent examiner is necessary to break any disability ties on impairment, an unbiased, financially disinterested, fully trained and skilled examiner must now be selected.

Eighth, before any in-house Company doctor can opine on your impairment, they must be skilled, trained and have all of your medical information in hand before a final decision will be made.

Ninth, upper claim management will now be involved at the earliest stages of the claim process to lend breadth and depth of experience to all reassessment decisions.

Tenth, claim personnel involved in the reassessment process will undergo rigorous training on the new claim objectives to ensure Best Claim Practices with vigilant monitoring and oversight.

Last, and certainly not least, the Company has agreed to keep all of the new claim objectives in place after the reassessment process concludes December 31, 2006. These new objectives will create a good faith checklist so claim personnel can continue to improve their good faith handling on all UnumProvident disability claims. "We are privileged to be helping claimants in every state that has signed on, get hard answers to tough questions," says Darras.